New Test for Neck Radiculitis

I have now seen 2 cases of idiopathic cervical “sciatica”/radiculitis with stickingly bad pains in triceps. This arm muscle pains can help distinguish this from intrinsic shoulder pains and one author some years ago came up with the arm “squeeze” test for neck radiculitis

Eur Spine J. 2013 Jul; 22(7): 1558–1563.
doi:  10.1007/s00586-013-2788-3
Arm Squeeze Test: a new clinical test to distinguish neck from shoulder pain
S. Gumina et al

  • “squeezing with the hand [simultaneous thumb and fingers compression, thumb from posterior (triceps muscle) and fingers from anterior (biceps muscle)] of the examiner, the middle third of the upper arm, elicited local pain” – ie “squeezing the middle third of the upper arm (brachial biceps and triceps area), on the side complained by the patient with shoulder pain, with a strength necessary to have a moderate compression of skin, subcutis and muscle can elicit an intense reaction of local pain”

  • positive test if 3/10 points higher than  “digital pressure … on the acromioclavicular and anterolateral-subacromial area”
  • sensitivity and specificity of 0.96 (very good)

Comment  – always looking for better tests of cervical radiculitis and this is one.


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